Top Oil Post Primary Schools’ Senior Football ‘A’ Final:
Naas C.B.S. 0-9 Marist College, Athlone 0-7
Naas CBS captured their first ever Top Oil Leinster PP Schools Senior Football ‘A’ title at Tullamore today, and became the first Kildare side to triumph in the championship since 1923.
Their fairytale path to glory, from competing in the ‘B’ grade last season to lifting the Bro Bosco Cup, featured a succession of hard-earned victories which culminated in a deserved victory over Marist College.
Though only two points separated the sides at the final whistle, Naas CBS looked the more likely winners throughout and when pegged back to level terms with ten minutes remaining, seized the initiative again to secure a famous victory.
A heavy surface contributed to a low-scoring contest which may have been short of attacking highlights, but lacked nothing in terms of commitment or will to win.
Unfortunately for Marist College, it was their third final defeat in five seasons and fifth in all as their quest to join the illustrious Roll of Honour goes on.
Though they hung in until the very end, the Althlone-based school – with players from clubs in both Roscommon and Westmeath – couldn’t reproduce the all-action style that had been a hallmark of their campaign.
An unproductive first half in attack was compounded by some wayward free-taking and wasteful shots which dropped into the arms of Naas ‘keeper David Morrissey.
Naas CBS adopted a more direct style and opened the scoring through Darragh Kirwan, who tormented the Marist full-back line all through.
It took a brave block by corner back Stephen McGonagle to prevent Colm Joyce from netting a goal for Naas in the fifth minute – one of the few clear-cut chances to raise a green flag by either team.
Kieran Colclough equalised with a free for Marist College, only for Naas to pull clear with superb efforts from Killian Thompson, Darragh Kirwan and dominant midfielder Rian Boran.
These points were fitting reward for their convincing attacking movements which their opponents were unable to match. This was, in part, thanks to excellent defending for the Kildare side by Cathal Daly, Jack Sargent and Jack Hamill.
Nevertheless, Marist College stayed in touch with their only first half point from play by Ciaran Sugrue in the 14th minute. A Shane Cunnane free reduced their deficit to 0-4 to 0-3, but Naas finished the half strongly and restored a double-scores advantage with a point apiece by Colm Joyce (free) and Luke Griffin.
Immediately after the resumption, Kieran Colclough indicated that Marist College had more in the tank with a brilliant solo effort.
Darragh Kirwan replied with an excellent point, but Naas didn’t add to their tally until the 52nd minute and, by then, Marist College had drawn level.
The Athlone school were boosted by the introduction of Josh Beaumont, who chipped in with two scores, either side of a converted free by Shane Cunnane.
But just as the scene was set for a grandstand finish, Naas CBS took control again. Substitute Aaron Deegan restored their lead and the influential Darragh Kirwan gave them two points breathing space approaching the end.
Marist College never looked like breaking through for a badly-needed goal and Naas CBS deservedly held out for a famous victory.
The Scorers –
Naas CBS: Darragh Kirwan 0-3, Colm Joyce (frees) 0-2; Rian Boran, Luke Griffin, Killian Thompson, Aaron Deegan 0-1 each.
Marist College: Shane Cunnane (frees), Kieran Colclough (0-1 free), Josh Beaumont (0-1 free) 0-2 each; Ciaran Sugrue 0-1 each.
NAAS CBS: David Morrissey; Eoghan Prizeman, Conall O’Gallchobhair, Jack Hamill; Cathal Daly, Jack Sargent, Brian Stynes; Ian Blackburne, Rian Boran; Barry Kehoe, Tony O’Connor, Killian Thompson; Colm Joyce, Luke Griffin, Darragh Kirwan.
Subs: Stephen Davis for O’Gallchobhair; Aaron Deegan for Kehoe; Liam Broderick for Blackburne; Harry Carroll for O’Connor.
MARIST COLLEGE: Cathal Dolan; Stephen McMonagle, Pearse Frost, Keelan Connor; Ian O’Rourke, Eoin Mulvhill, Patrick McGettigan; Shane Cunnane, Shane Allen; Fred Kelleher, Kieran Colclough, Sean Dowd; Tom O’Carroll, Eoghan Derwin, Ciaran Sugrue.
Subs: Rory Dempsey for McGonagle (temp); McGonagle for Dempsey; Josh Beaumont for Kelleher; Cian McBrearty for Derwin; Donagh Predergast for Dowd; Billy McDonnell for O’Rourke.
Referee: Seamus Mulhare (Laois).